If Pro Football Focus' most recent mock draft comes true, which includes a tectonic trade between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, most Mile High fans would be ecstatic. PFF's Anthony Treash published a mock draft on Monday that is sure to raise some eyebrows in Broncos Country.
As the Broncos are about to go on the clock at pick 9, the news of a trade hits the wire. Denver acquires disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson, while the Texans get the entire Broncos farm, as well as a signal-caller of their own.
9. HOUSTON TEXANS (via DEN): QB TREY LANCE, NORTH DAKOTA STATE
TRADE! Houston trades quarterback Deshaun Watson to Denver for the ninth overall pick, a 2021 second-rounder, 2022 first-rounder, 2022 second-rounder, 2023 first-rounder
The Texans' brass may keep insisting that they are not going to trade the star quarterback, but Watson looks as good as gone at this point. In fact, FanDuel now has the Broncos as the favorites to land Watson ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
If Denver were to acquire the star quarterback, it’s going to take a stupid amount of picks despite the quarterback having a no-trade clause getting in the way. And the Broncos reportedly are willing to do just that. After all, Watson was a top-three graded quarterback of the 2020 season and is on the path to Hall of Fame status, according to the research done by PFF's Kevin Cole.
The Broncos acquiring Watson would have the same impact we saw this past season when Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’d be Super Bowl contenders right away.
The path to Hall of Fame status? Huh. Isn't it a little early for such talk, especially considering Watson's single, solitary playoff win in four NFL seasons? I get that the three Pro Bowl nods are impressive but pump the brakes.
The king's ransom Houston commands in PFF's trade boggles the mind. Not one, not two, but three first-round picks, plus two second-rounders.
Miss me on that noise.
However, there are throngs of Broncos fans and media alike who'd line up to pay through the nose for Watson. Broncos free-agent safety Justin Simmons said last week that Watson would make his team "automatically contenders" — a take like PFF's, that frankly has a few holes in it.
If Watson could take a bottom-10 team like the Broncos and instantly make them a contender, then surely the Texans would have been a force to be reckoned with last year, or so the logic goes. But Houston finished 4-12 and the Texans didn't have to contend with the likes of Patrick Mahomes twice per year, to say nothing of Justin Herbert.
Watson's 4,823 passing yards led the NFL and although he produced 33 touchdowns through the air, it wasn't enough to forestall Houston's ruin. He gets called a top-5 current QB in the league but is Watson the tide that raises all ships, like the bonafide franchise guy?
I'm not saying that he's not (pardon the double negative) but what I am saying is that based on recent empirical evidence, I'm far from convinced that he is. What that means is, Watson's prospective arrival, along with all of GM George Paton's horses and men, might not enough to put the Broncos back together again.
In such an event, those five premium-round draft picks given up to land Watson would probably be the biggest culprit to point to. The prospect of any team, especially the Broncos who have so many roster holes on defense, giving up the farm to win the Watson sweepstakes is a proverbial catch-22.
You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
I'd hedge on the side of honoring Paton's core philosophy and 'draft and develop' the Broncos' way out of the doldrums. Outside of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady falling in a team's lap, there are no quick-fixes in the National Football League.
Unless you're saying Watson is on that level. I know that's what PFF is saying. Is that what you're saying, though? Coz' that's definitely not what I'm saying.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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